Introduction: This chapter is famous for three reasons. First, after a lengthy absence, God’s Shekinah Glory came to dwell with His people in the Temple. Second, God made explicit His promise to forgive a nation when they humble themselves and repent. Third, God reaffirmed His Covenant with David that his descendants would have an eternal dynasty. But God warned that the right of Solomon’s descendants to sit on the throne and for the Jews to enjoy God’s protection from their enemies was conditional on their obedience. The Temple and the Shekinah Glory which came to dwell with God’s people both foreshadowed Jesus (Jo. 2:20-21). Indeed, the entire Old Testament foreshadowed Jesus: “Now He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”’ (Lk. 24:44). Through the details of this chapter, Jesus reveals several lessons about His holy character. These include His: (1) love, (2) holiness, (3) mercy, (4) joy, (5) forgiveness, (6) faithfulness, and (7) justice.
First, after the Jews built the Temple, God’s Shekinah Glory filled the Temple. God loved His people and desired to dwell with them. Jesus first took human form to dwell with His people. He then died at the cross so that He could dwell in fellowship with His people in heaven forever. Second, the priests feared God’s Shekinah Glory because sin cannot be in God’s presence and survive. Jesus is holy and pure and deserves your reverent worship. Third, the Jews praised God for His mercy in withholding the judgment that they deserved. They proclaimed that God’s mercy endures forever. Jesus also deserves your praise because His mercy endures forever. Fourth, the Jews joyfully celebrated the return of God’s presence. Jesus also deserves your praise because His fellowship brings joy. Fifth, God proclaimed that He would forgive the nation’s sins when they humble themselves and repent. Jesus also deserves your praise because His death brings the forgiveness of sin. An entire nation can receive His forgiveness when they repent. Sixth, God promised that the line of David would have an eternal heir. He also promised Solomon that his descendants would never lack an heir to the throne if they kept God’s Word. Jesus also deserves your praise because He is faithful to keep His Word. He is the King of Kings, and His righteous reign will have no end. Finally, God warned that He would be forced to judge the Jews if they turned against Him and rebelled against His laws. As a just God, Jesus must also one day judge unrepentant sin and discipline wayward believers.
God’s Shekinah glory filled the Temple. Because Solomon was faithful to build the Temple as God required and because of his proper sacrifices and humble prayers, God allowed His Shekinah Glory to fill the Temple: “1 Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house.” (2 Chr. 7:1). God’s glory came to Israel when Moses completed the Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38). His glory then left Israel when the Philistines captured the ark (1 Sam 4:22). Excluding Jesus’ appearance, the Bible records seven occasions when believers have or will directly observe God’s glory. These include: (1) when God gave Moses his commission at the burning bush in Midian (Ex. 3:1-6); (2) when God gave the Ten Commandments at Mount Horeb (Ex. 24:9-17; Jo. 8:58; Ex. 3:14); (3) when the Jews completed the Tabernacle in the wilderness (Ex. 40:34-35); (4) when Aaron and his sons completed their seven-day ordination and sacrifices to become priests (Lev. 9:23-24); (5) here, when the Jews completed the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 8:10-11; 2 Chr. 7:1); (6) when Isaiah appeared in heaven and feared that he would be destroyed (Is. 6:1-6); and (7) when believers get to heaven and live in the presence of God’s Shekinah Glory in the heavenly Temple (Rev. 15:8).
God’s holy fire came down and consumed the Temple sacrifices1
God’s Shekinah glory filled the Temple2
The special future role for the Temple Mount. Although the Bible is clear that God’s Shekinah glory has moved at different times to different places, there is one place where it will return to. That is the Temple Mount in Israel. God made a promise that His eyes would forever be placed on the Temple Mount: “The LORD said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and your supplication, which you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built by putting My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.’” (1 Kgs. 9:3; 2 Chr. 33:7). On the ninth day of the fifth month in 70 A.D, a day which later became known as the “fast of Av” (“Tisha B’Av”) (Zech. 7:3), the Romans burned the Temple. Centuries later, the Muslims built the Dome El Rock on the grounds of the Temple Mount. In the future, the devil plans to occupy a temple that will one day be rebuilt and declare himself god (2 Thess. 2:1-3; Matt. 24:15). That will mark the beginning of the Great Tribulation on Earth. After Jesus returns, God’s Shekinah glory will again be present on a rebuilt Temple (Micah 4:1-8; Zech. 14:3-9). In heaven, you will also see the Shekinah glory of God the Father and Jesus Christ without a veil (1 Jo. 3:2). You “will see His face. . . [and] the Light of God (“Shekinah glory”) will illumine them forever and ever.” (Rev. 22:5). In 1947, after almost 2,000 years in exile, Israel became a country. It now controls the land surrounding the Temple Mount, and there are groups actively seeking to rebuild the Temple. It is safe to assume that we are living in the end times. Are you living your life as if the Lord could return at any moment?
With faith, you can also experience God’s glory through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel prophesized that the Shekinah glory would return with the Messiah (Ez. 43:1-5). In the New Testament, the glory of God was also revealed through Jesus: “And the Word became flesh . . . and we saw His glory, glory as the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jo. 1:14). But many could not comprehend His light because they loved evil: “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (Jo. 3:19). Only those with faith could see that Jesus is the true light of the world (Jo. 8:12) With faith, there are many other places where you can also see God’s hidden glory. For example, with faith you can also see God’s glory in the stars. They tell of “the glory of God.” (Ps. 19:1). Nature also reveals His glory (Rom. 1:20). Jesus also promises His glory to us: “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;” (Jo. 17:22). Jesus does this through Holy Spirit, who dwells within every believer (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:22; Heb. 3:6; Rom. 13:14; 2 Tim. 1:14). Whenever two or more are gathered in His name, His presence is there: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (Matt. 18:20). The Spirit will further reveal God’s glory in your life when you obey Jesus’ commands to serve the poor, the sick, and the hungry (Matt. 25:31-46). The Spirit will also reveal God’s glory when we are obedient to pray for others, when you instruct others to be disciples, when you baptize others, and when you teach God’s Word (Matt. 28:18-20). Through the Holy Spirit, you will also share in Jesus’ glory when you read and obey the Word: “[T]hey have kept your Word . . . . The glory which You have given to Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.” (Jo. 17:6, 22; Ro. 5:2; Col. 3:4). Seek Jesus, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you, and you will share in His glory.
Jesus loves you and died so that He could dwell in eternal fellowship with you. Out of love for mankind, Jesus first came and dwelled with us as a human. He then died at the cross so that anyone who believes could live: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jo. 3:16). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:8). “He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.” (Ro. 4:25). Like the Jews, you too are called to seek fellowship with Jesus: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). If you have accepted Jesus to dwell with Him, are you sharing the path to salvation with others?
The priests praised God in reverence. Although the return of God’s Shekinah Glory was a great moment in Israel’s history, the Jews were afraid to be in God’s presence because evil cannot be in God’s presence and survive: “2 The priests could not enter into the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. 3 All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, ‘Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.”’ (2 Chr. 7:2-3). It was a permanent ordinance for the Temple to be kept holy for all eternity: “This is the law of the house: its entire area on the top of the mountain all around shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.” (Ezek. 43:12). The Jews worshiped God because He was willing to allow His holy presence to be amongst sinful people. He spared them from destruction that normally happens when sin is in His presence. “Therefore, . . . let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:28-29).
Sin has also separated you from God. Without Jesus, sin will also separate you from God: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God . . .” (Is. 59:2(a)). God has looked down from heaven and observed that not one person is holy and without sin: “[I]t is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”’ (Ro. 3:10-11). “[T]here is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Ps. 143:2). “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:8). Thus, if someone says that he or she is going to heaven because he or she is a good person, the truth is not in that person. Likewise, if a person claims that he or she is going to heaven because of their good works (a view shared by many religions), Jesus’ death on the cross was unnecessary (Gal. 2:21).
Follow Jesus’ example by keeping the temple of the Holy Spirit holy. Jesus lived His life free from sin. Although all believers will sin, Jesus wants you to work to be holy just as He is holy: “Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.’” (Lev. 19:2; Ex. 22:31; 1 Pet. 1:16; Ep. 1:4; Matt. 5:48). Today, your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit: “If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.” (1 Cor. 3:17). You should also stay holy because of the terrible price that Jesus paid for you: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20) Would your family and your non-believer friends allege that you act in a holy manner?
Control what you watch. To keep the temple holy, Jesus warns that you must be mindful of what you watch: “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt. 6:22-23; Lk. 11:34). If the internet is causing you to stumble, set filters on what you watch. Do you have boundaries to control what you and your children watch?
Solomon’s sacrifices of gratitude. Even though the dedication process was complete, Solomon again ordered sacrifices after God’s Shekinah glory filled the Temple: “4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. 5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6 The priests stood at their posts, and the Levites also, with the instruments of music to the Lord, which King David had made for giving praise to the Lord—“for His lovingkindness is everlasting”—whenever he gave praise by their means, while the priests on the other side blew trumpets; and all Israel was standing. 7 Then Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord, for there he offered the burnt offerings and the fat of the peace offerings because the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to contain the burnt offering, the grain offering and the fat.” (2 Chr. 7:4-7). Solomon’s eight-day dedication ceremony included the sacrifice of a staggering 144,000 animals to atone for the Jews’ sins (2 Chr. 7:5; 1 Kgs. 8:62-64). These sacrifices came in connection with the concurrent Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot. To atone for the nation’s sin, Solomon sacrificed both 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep (2 Chr. 7:5; 1 Kgs. 8:63). During the Feast, the Jews made an offering by fire to the Lord (Lev. 23:37). Including two lambs that were normally sacrificed each day (Nu. 28:2), the normal number of burnt offering included 215 animal sacrifices: (1) 71 one-year old bulls without defect; (2) 15 rams without defect; (3) 121 lambs without defect; and (4) 8 goats without defect. In addition, the meal offerings included oil offerings, wine offerings, and 336 tenths of “ephahs” of fine flour (Nu. 29:12-39). Thus, Solomon’s sacrifices totaling 144,000 animals was more than 669 times the normal number of sacrifices. With the shedding of blood, there could be no atonement of sin: “And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22). Observing all these animal sacrifices would have been a grotesque sight. But that is how sin appears to God. Cleansing sin also carries an enormous price. Thankfully, Jesus paid that price for us.
The priests made 215 animal sacrifices at the Temple dedication3
The penalty for our sins is death. The priests performed the animal sacrifices at a bronze altar (2 Chr. 7:7). Bronze represents judgment in the Bible (e.g., Jesus’ “bronze” feet (Rev. 1:15) will crush Satan (Rom. 16:20)). The fire inside the altar also symbolized God’s judgment: “for our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29; 10:27; Ex. 24:17; Dt. 4:24; 9:3; Ps. 97:3; Is. 33:14; 2 Thess. 1:7). The animal was also cut into pieces (Gen. 15:10, 17). This showed that nothing is hidden before the Lord at the time of judgment (Ecc. 12:14). It also symbolized a solemn covenant. We also cannot treat sin lightly (Rom. 6:26). “For the wages of sin is death, . .” (Rom. 6:23). Unless we accept that we are destined for judgment, we will feel no pressure to repent. Are you warning others about the judgment that awaits those who fail to repent?
Unrepented sin can still “hinder” your prayers to God. Even though the Jews had cleansed their sins, the post-celebration sacrifices were a reminder that sin is an ongoing problem that must be dealt with on an ongoing basis. In the Old Testament, God warned that as a consequence of the separation caused by sin, He would not hear the prayers of sinners: “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.” (Is. 1:15). “And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue mutters wickedness.” (Is. 59:2-3(b)). “We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but He does listen to anyone who worships Him and does His will.” (Jo. 9:31; Prov. 15:29; 8:9; Ps. 66:18). In the New Testament, Jesus warns that sin can “hinder” a believer’s prayers (1 Pet. 3:7). Thus, even after you accept Jesus and Lord and Savior, you should still repent of your sins. He is faithful to cleanse your sins when you repent. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). Sin will not cause you to lose your salvation. But Jesus still wants you to repent of your daily sins. This will help you to maintain fellowship with Him and allow your prayers to be unhindered.
Jesus’ mercy endures forever. In the NASB translation, the Jews are said to have praised God’s “lovingkindness”. In the NIV translation, they are said to have praised His “love”. In the New King James Version, the word is more properly translated in this context as God’s “mercy” in withholding His judgments: “And the priests attended to their services; the Levites also with instruments of the music of the LORD, which King David had made to praise the LORD, saying, “For His mercy endures forever,” whenever David offered praise by their ministry. The priests sounded trumpets opposite them, while all Israel stood.” (2 Chr. 7:6). In other parallel verses, the New King James Version also translates the word “lovingkindness” as “mercy”: “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (1 Chr. 16:34). “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” (Ps. 106:1). This translation is also used in many popular worship hymns. It is because of God’s love that His mercy endures forever. Thus, all of these translations share a similar idea. Your praise for Jesus should also include gratitude for His ongoing mercy in your life.
Show your gratitude by offering Jesus the best of your life as a fellowship offering. In gratitude, Solomon offered the “fat of the peace offerings.” (2 Chr. 7:7). The peace offering was the one voluntary sacrifice that a person could eat to symbolize their fellowship with God (Lev 3:1-17). Today, you dine with Jesus when you eat communion. When you eat communion, you should remember that Jesus’ body was broken for you and His blood was spilled for you (Matt. 26:26). “[A]nd when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor. 11:24). Through Jesus’ sacrifice, He has blessed you with a peace that “surpasses all understanding.” (Phil. 4:7). The priests were also required to give the “fat” to God (E.g., Lev. 3:3, 9; 14, 16-17; 4:8; 7:3; 9:10; 9:19; 17:5). “[A]ll fat is the Lord’s.” (Lev. 3:16). The priest who ate the fat was to be “cut-off” from the Lord (Lev. 7:25). You are part of Jesus’ holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). Thus, these instructions apply to you. The fat was a pleasure and a delicacy because it was considered the best tasting part of the animal. The person seeking peace was to give up the best pleasures in life to God. Jesus says that those who want to follow Him as His disciples need to “deny” themselves (Matt. 16:25-26; Lk. 4:28-33; Jo. 12:25-26). If you deny yourself, you deny your flesh. This allows the Holy Spirit to fill you with peace. Is there anything in your life that you have consciously decided to give up for God? If the answer is nothing, pray for God to reveal what should be cut out of your life.
The feast of dedication. At the conclusion of the dedication ceremony, the Jews celebrated with joy in a feast of dedication that God has returned to live in fellowship with them: “8 So Solomon observed the feast at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly who came from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt. 9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for the dedication of the altar they observed seven days and the feast seven days. 10 Then on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their tents, rejoicing and happy of heart because of the goodness that the Lord had shown to David and to Solomon and to His people Israel.” (2 Chr. 7:8-10). The dedication process concluded the eight-day Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot (1 Kgs. 8:65-66). The people came from the most distant places in Israel from the south to the north for the dedication (1 Kgs. 8:65). It was a time of joyous celebration across all of Israel (1 Kgs. 8:66). Jesus’ fellowship also offers you great joy.
Give thanks for your new beginnings in Jesus. The Feast of Tabernacles lasted eight days (1 Kgs. 8:66). After the seven-day festival, the people were together for a holy convocation on the eighth day (Lev. 23:36). Seven is a number of completeness in the Bible. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh (Ex. 20:11). The ordination of the priests also lasted seven days (Lev. 8:35-36). The number eight in the Bible symbolizes new beginnings. The priest’s new duties began on the eighth day (Lev. 9:1). The eighth day was also the day that a child was to be circumcised as being part of his covenant with God (Lev. 12:3). Jesus also rose from the dead on a Sunday, the eighth day or the first day of the new week (Matt. 28:1). Through God’s presence at the Temple, God offered the Jews a “new beginning.” Through Jesus’ death at the cross, He also offers you a “new beginning.” (1 Pet. 1:3). If you are excited for the new beginnings that Jesus made possible, celebrate it and give Him thanks.
Jesus also came to bring joy. On the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot festival, Jesus stepped forward and cried out: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” (Jo. 7:37-39). God’s holy days revealed the “shadows” of Christ (Col. 2:17). Sukkot was the most joyful holy day. It celebrates when God came to dwell or “tabernacle” amongst us. It also foreshadowed both when Christ dwelled with us and when He will again “tabernacle” with us during His 1,000-year reign on Earth. It also foreshadowed the joy that comes from Him alone (Lk. 2:10-11). This Feast was a “perpetual statute throughout your generation. . . ” (Lev. 23:41). If you celebrate it, “your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands. . .” (Dt. 16:15). Thus, you can receive a blessing when you celebrate Jesus on this day.
Fellowship through the Spirit brings joy. Jesus offers you an abundant life: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10). The abundant life that He offers includes the peace and joy that only the Holy Spirit can provide: “the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 14:17). “[I]n Your presence is fullness of joy;” (Ps. 16:11; 21:6). Joy is also a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22; Ro. 14:17; 15:13). Living your faith and walking with Jesus also involves sharing the joy of the Spirit: “ . . . I rejoice and share my joy with you.” (Phil. 2:17(b)). “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (Phil. 2:2). When you suffer setbacks, do you feel the joy of the Spirit? If not, you may have fallen out of fellowship through unrepentant sin in your walk.
The importance of grateful praise in maintaining fellowship. Being grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice for you on the cross is an important way to keep yourself free from returning to your sin. This in turn helps to maintain your fellowship with Jesus. If you don’t care about His sacrifice or if you don’t internalize the price He paid for you, you are more likely to backslide into sin. Thus, offer constant praise and thanks to Jesus for His sacrifice: “Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Heb. 13:15). As our example, David regularly thanked God through songs of praise (e.g., Ps. 18:49; 26:7; 30:4, 12; 50:14; 69:30; 75:1; 79:13; 92:1; 95:2; 97:12; 100:4; 106:1; 107:1, 8; 116:17; 118:1; 119:62; 140:13; 147:7). Being grateful should not be limited to the times when things turn out right for you. Your gratefulness should also include the stressful times when adversity strikes. You can always give thanks because God is in control. Are you giving thanks for all of God’s blessings in both the good times and during your trials?
God’s promise to forgive the Jews’ sins when they repent. In response to the Jews’ sacrifices, God then showed that He was faithful to forgive the nation of its sins and heal the land: “11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s palace, and successfully completed all that he had planned on doing in the house of the Lord and in his palace. 12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.” (2 Chr. 7:11-15; 1 Kgs. 9:1-2). God had appeared to Solomon once previously when He rewarded Solomon for praying for wisdom instead of money or power (1 Kgs. 3:5-9). Thus, this was God’s second appearance to Solomon. Solomon was the primary beneficiary of the wisdom that God gave during the first encounter. We are the beneficiaries of the wisdom that God gave to Solomon during this second encounter.
Jesus promises to heal any nation that repents and turns back to Him4
God’s promise to heal the nation remains today. The Church was meant to be God’s salt and light to guide the nations (Matt. 5:13-16). Thus, the Church should be leading the way for the nations to receive God’s healing and forgiveness. As one commentator explains, there are many examples throughout the Bible for how the nations should humble themselves, pray, seek God and turn to Him: “· We can see what it means to humble one’s self by looking at Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 12:6, 7, and 12), Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30:11 and 32:26), and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:12, 19, and 23). · We can see what it means to pray by looking at Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30:18 and 32:20) and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:13). · We can see what it means to seek by looking at the returning priests (2 Chronicles 11:16) and Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:3-4). · We can see what it means to turn by looking at Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 30:6 and 30:9).” (David Guzik on 2 Chronicles 7) (emphasis in original).5 Is your church praying for the nation and stepping forward to confront sin? If not, encourage it to be God’s salt and light.
Jesus can also cleanse your heart of sin and allow you to go boldly into the throne room. If you repent, Jesus will also bless you by forgiving you (1 Jo. 1:9). Through His death on the cross, He has made you blameless with His righteousness (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). Through His righteousness, you can now approach God the Father in the throne room in boldness as you pray for others, just as Solomon did for his people (Heb. 4:16). Are you praying boldly for others who are caught in sin and in need of forgiveness?
Show your appreciation for God’s forgiveness by forgiving others. In response to the forgiveness that you received, God expects you to forgive others: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32). “bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.” (Col. 3:13). “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (Matt. 6:14). Is there anyone that you need to forgive?
21 specific blessings in the Torah for those who are faithful and obedient to God. Healing and forgiveness are just two of the blessings that God offers believers. In the four books of the law, God reveals at least 21 specific blessings for those who are faithful and obedient to Him. These blessings are unrelated to Jesus’ blessing of eternal salvation. In Exodus, God revealed at least three conditional blessings that come from faithful obedience. These include: (1) protection from diseases (Ex. 15:26); a prolonged life (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16, 32-33; 4:40; 6:1-2; 12:28; 22:6-7; 25:13-16; Lev. 18:5; Eph. 6:2-3); and (3) God’s holy presence (Ex. 40:34-35). In Leviticus, God revealed seven other conditional blessings that He may use to bless a person or a nation for obedience. These include: (1) provision (Lev. 26:3-5); (2) peace (Lev. 26:6); (3) protection (Lev. 26:7-8; Ex. 23:22); (4) fertility (Lev. 26:9); (5) abundance from giving (Lev. 26:10; Ps. 92:12-14; Mal. 3:10-12); (6) guidance (Lev. 26:11-12; Ps. 32:8); and (7) freedom (Lev. 26:13; Ex. 20:2). In Deuteronomy, He revealed 10 other conditional blessings. These include: (1) exaltation for the nation (Dt. 28:1-2); (2) exaltation for the individual within the nation (Dt. 28:1-3); (3) growth (Dt. 28:4); (4) food (Dt. 28:5); (5) success (Dt. 28:6); (6) the defeat of your enemies (Dt. 28:7); (7) prosperity (Dt. 28:8); (8) holiness (Dt. 28:9); (9) respect (Dt. 28:10); and (10) the fullness of God’s blessings (Dt. 28:11-14). Finally, in books of the law from Exodus through Deuteronomy, God reveals the blessing of forgiveness from the blood sacrifices (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). Jesus became the final one-time sacrifice to fulfill the Old Testament sacrificial laws (Heb. 10:12). The only act of obedience required to receive this blessing today is to believe that He died for your sins and that He is both your Lord and Savior (Ro. 10:13; Acts 2:21; Jo. 3:16; 1 Jo. 1:9). Are you obedient to His Commandments and His will to receive His many blessings?
God’s conditional promise for Solomon’s descendants to rule on the throne of Israel. After God’s Shekinah glory had entered the completed Temple and Solomon gave a prayer of dedication, God appeared to Solomon and promised to bless Solomon and his descendants if they remained faithful and obedient: God also promised to keep His Covenant with David: “16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18 then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’” (2 Chr. 7:16-18; 1 Kgs. 9:1-5). These events took place approximately 24 years after Solomon became the King of Israel. At a prior time when Solomon made many sacrifices and brought the nation to repentance at Gideon, God asked Solomon to name a request for God to fulfill (1 Kgs. 3:4-5). Because Solomon only asked for wisdom, God granted him both the wisdom that he asked for and wealth and power that he did not ask for (1 Kgs. 3:10-14). God was pleased that Solomon used his wealth and power to build a great place of worship and made it holy (1 Kgs. 9:3; 8:10; 1 Chr. 7:1-7). God praised Solomon for putting “My name there forever.” (1 Kgs. 9:3). Although mankind would destroy Solomon’s earthly Temple, God will dwell forever in His similar eternal Temple (Is. 2:1-4; Zech. 14:16; Rev. 21:1-2). As a reward, God confirmed for the second time His conditional promise to Solomon and his descendants. God previously promised that His blessings were contingent upon their faith-led obedience: “11 Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon saying, 12 ‘Concerning this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will carry out My word with you which I spoke to David your father. 13 I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.”’ (1 Kgs. 6:11-13). God also made a similar conditional promise to David (2 Sam. 7:12-16). God’s conditional promises to Solomon also repeated the conditional promises of blessing that He gave to Moses (Dt. 28:1-14; Lev. 26:1-13).
God’s conditional promise required a contrite heart, not perfection. God used David as an example for what He expected of Solomon: “As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My ordinances,” (2 Kgs. 7:17; 1 Kgs. 9:4). This might sound surprising to anyone who has studied David’s life. David violated at least seven of God’s Ten Commandments. First, by lusting after his neighbor Uriah’s wife Bathsheba, he violated God’s Tenth Commandment against coveting (Ex. 20:17; Dt. 5:21). Second, by repeatedly giving into his lusts of his flesh, he made an idol out of attractive women and violated God’s Second Commandment (Ex. 20:4-5; Dt. 5:8-9). Third, by sleeping with a married woman, he violated God’s Seventh Commandment against adultery (Ex. 20:14; Dt. 5:18). Fourth, he violated God’s Sixth Commandment against murder when he killed Uriah (Ex. 20:13; Dt. 5:17). Fifth, by engaging in lies and deceit to cover up Uriah’s murder, he violated God’s Ninth Commandment against bearing false witness (Ex. 20:16; Dt. 5:20). Sixth, with both Bathsheba and his other wives’ and concubines, he violated God’s law against a king having more than one wife (Dt. 17:17(a)). He further violated God’s purpose of marriage by joining himself together by more than one other person (Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Tim. 3:2). To become king, he would have made a public vow to uphold the Torah. By repeatedly breaking his vow before God, David also profaned His holy name. He was not to “swear falsely by My name, so as to profane the name of your God.” (Lev. 19:12). Thus, his actions also violated the Third Commandment (Ex. 20:7; Dt. 5:11). Finally, as God’s appointed king, David violated the Fifth Commandment by dishonoring his heavenly Father. “Honor your father. . .” (Ex. 20:12; Dt. 5:16). Even if he only broke one Commandment, he would have broken them all (Jam. 2:10). David came to appreciate and write psalms about God’s mercy and grace only after God showed him his sins. David was a man after God’s heart (Act 13:22) not because he was perfect. Instead, he was a godly man because he later repented of his many sins and changed his ways each time God confronted him (Ps. 51:17). God wants you to avoid sinning (Matt. 5:48). Yet, He knows that you will sin. What He cares most is that you repent and turn back to Him each time you sin so that He can forgive you (1 Jo. 1:9).
God would discipline Solomon’s descendants out of love. God previously warned David that the eternal kingship would not exempt the kings from discipline, just as a loving father disciplines a wayward son: “14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,” (2 Sam. 7:14). In a similar way, God disciplines His people out of love (Dt. 8:5; Heb. 12:7; 1 Cor. 11:32). If God has disciplined you, rejoice because He loves you. If He has corrected you, have you changed your ways for Him?
God’s warning of discipline if the Jews rebelled against Him. God’s conditional blessing also included a warning regarding the discipline that He would impose upon Solomon, his descendants, and the nation if they disobeyed Him: “19 But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 As for this house, which was exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22 And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.’” (2 Chr. 7:19-22; 1 Kgs. 9:6-9). God’s prophetic warnings included promises that He would: (1) destroy the Temple; (2) expel the Jews; and (3) the Jews would become pariahs amongst the nations. These were warnings that God also gave to Moses (Dt. 28:37; 29:24-28). He fulfilled each of His warnings. He first allowed foreign armies to destroy the Temple in 586 B.C. He then allowed the Jews to be taken into Assyrian and then Babylonian captivity. The Jews were then derided by the pagans.
A nation that refuses to return to God will also experience His progressive discipline. In the Torah, Moses outlined 40 progressively severe “curses” that God could use to bring a rebellious nation back to Him. These include: (1) resistance / opposition (Dt. 28:16); (2) scarcity (Dt. 28:17); (3) infertility (Dt. 28:18); (4) failure (Dt. 28:19); (5) rebuke (Dt. 28:20); (6) hardships (Dt. 28:21); (7) illness (Dt. 28:22); (8) drought (Dt. 28:23-24); (9) defeat (Dt. 28:25); (10) fear (Dt. 28:26-27); (11) disease (Dt. 28:28); (12) confusion (Dt. 28:28-29); (13) stolen spouses (Dt. 28:30(a)); (14) stolen property (Dt. 28:30(b)-31, 33(a)); (15) stolen children (Dt. 28:32); (16) oppression (Dt. 28:33(b)); (17) mental illness (Dt. 28:34); (18) sores and lost beauty (Dt. 28:35); (19) idolatry (Dt. 28:36); (20) being vilified (Dt. 28:37); (21) insect plagues (Dt. 28:38-39); (22) a seared conscience (Dt. 28:40); (23) enslaved youth (the second curse against children) (Dt. 28:41); (24) barren lands (Dt. 28:42); (25) indebtedness (Dt. 28:43-44); (26) destruction (Dt. 28:45-6); (27) captivity (Dt. 28:47(a)); (28) suffering (Dt. 28:47(b)); (29) invasion (Dt. 28:49-50); (30) pillaging (Dt. 28:51); (31) being besieged (Dt. 28:52); (32) self-destruction (Dt. 28:53); (33) husbands turning on their wives (Dt. 28:54-55); (34) wives turning on their husbands (Dt. 28:56-57); (35) unending plagues (Dt. 28:58-59(a)); (36) unending diseases (Dt. 28:59(b)-60); (37) other calamities (Dt. 28:61); (38) population collapse (Dt. 28:62-63); (39) exile (Dt. 28:64); and (40) despair (Dt. 28:65-68). The western world has enjoyed great prosperity, even as it turns from God and embraces what God calls evil. It should not interpret its prosperity as a blessing. Solomon would make the same mistake. Instead, it was and is the calm before the storm of God’s discipline.
God will not forsake you when He disciplines you. Even though God would discipline Solomon’s descendants, He promised never to forsake them (Dt. 31:6; Heb. 13:5). ‘“Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.”’ (Lev. 26:11; Josh. 1:5; 1 Sam. 12:22). “ but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.” (2 Sam. 7:15). Sin would, however, limit the extent of their blessing to the land of Judah: ‘“However, I will not tear away all the kingdom, but I will give one tribe to your son for the sake of My servant David and for the sake of Jerusalem which I have chosen.”’ (1 Kgs. 11:13). “So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.” (2 Kgs. 17:18; Ps. 89:33). Sin may prevent you from experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings. But He will never leave you or abandon you because of sin once you accept Him as your Lord and Savior.
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